REVIEW: Airwolf: Airstrikes

Written by Mike Baron, Jeff Mariotte, Marc Andreyko, Barbara Kesel, Rob Worley, Marc Bernardin & Adam Freeman
Art by Jean Froes & Fabiano Neves
Publisher: IDW/Lion Forge

“My blood runs cold.  My memory has just been sold.”

When this collection of Airwolf issues from licensing giant IDW popped up from its lair, I was quite looking forward to reading it.  Just look at the cover.  The Lady in all her mach two, attack helicopter glory.

Boy was I sold a dud!

Now, I get that IDW have had some success rebooting “classic” shows for their comic book range.  The Miami Vice book for example, whilst not being a true reflection of Crockett and Tubbs still manages to convey the excesses for the 80’s mixed in with what could be a decent cop show.  Look at their Star Trek range, crossing over with any comic book with a sci-fi pulse.  I am not a big of the Abrams Trek, but at least IDW manage to get the art to resemble the crew and the Starship Enterprise!  Nothing could be further from the truth with Airwolf.

As it’s a collection of issues, there are various writers and artists.  Looking at the list of writers there is some strong talent listed.  It’s a shame that the talent therefore is wasted on nothing more than an action book, that could be a G.I Joe book.  The heart of the show was the flawed nature of Stringfellow Hawke, his belief that anyone close to him dies with the exception of his fly pal Dominic Santini.  This loss includes parents, Gabrielle and the long lost, oft searched for MIA brother St.John.  The pair would take on jobs for The Firm who would, on one hand support the pair whilst also trying to steal back The Lady.  None of this is relevant to any of the issues here.  Its just wham, bam, explosions and a fancy looking helicopter that bears no resemblance to its TV namesake other than its a helicopter.  The art is equally staid, with a variety if artists, taking the helm to produce like for like pages with no real discernible difference.  If the idea is produce a house style, then its mission accomplished.

As a show of its time, Airwolf was not without its flaws.  Early seasons would pretty much fall into Cold War territory and later ones would degenerate into “Hawke in trouble, get The Lady” type of story.  Looking back now, I can recognise the jump cuts and poor editing, but be that as it may none of the shows shortcomings spoiled its entertainment value.  As you may be able to tell, I am a huge Airwolf fan and it is disappointing to see that it seems that all IDW want to do is push the Airwolf brand with no thought to long term fans, which as the show is now 31 years old, the book may need to ensure its success.  The only thing that could make this book worse is if “Archangel was the centerfold!”


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